Inter Milan maintain momentum on the field, but finances are frightening

INTER MILAN have revealed they lost an astonishing € 245.6 million in their title-winning season of 2020-21, a record loss for an Italian club and an indication of the fragile state of European football.

Inter’s revenues declined from € 372.4 million to € 364.7 million in 2020-21 and their losses more than doubled from € 102.4 million. According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, Inter had the second highest wage bill, their € 149 million topped only by Juventus (€ 236m). If these figures are accurate, Inter’s wage to income ratio was 41%.

Despite winning the scudetto for the first time since 2011, Inter lost their coach, Antonio Conte, and had to sell their key players Romelu Lukaku and Achraf Hakimi. They hired Simone Inzaghi from Lazio, who has kept the ball rolling and Lukaku’s replacement was 35 year-old striker Edin Džeko, which on the face of it, looked like a backward step. But Džeko has scored six goals in Serie A this season and may be one of the signings of the season. Inter are interested in adding to their squad in the January transfer window and have Chelsea’s Marcos Alonso and Arsenal keeper Bernd Leno on their shopping list.

Inter’s full figures haven’t been released yet, but the club claims it is financially secure, thanks to a cash injection received from private equity company Oaktree Capital Management totalling € 275 million. Should Inter’s owners, the Chinese company Suning, fail to service its debts with Oaktree, the US company could take over Inter in much the same way Elliott Management took control at AC Milan. Inter’s fans are certainly sceptical about the involvement of a private equity company.

Inter’s troubled owners were keen to sell the club at one point and appointed Wall Street giants Goldman Sachs with that intention in mind. However, they eventually secured the cash to keep Inter stable. Inter’s CEO, Beppe Marotta, said the club’s situation is typical of European and Italian football at the moment and that consistency and stability come first and foremost at present. He added that the same of some “important assets” had enabled the club to come through a difficult time.

Marotta is referring to the sale of Lukaku and Hakimi, which brought in € 175 million at the start of the 2021-22 campaign, which should enable Inter to reduce its deficit. Their biggest outlay was Zinho Vanheusden of Standard Liege, who cost € 16 million. Denzel Dumfries of PSV Eindhoven was also acquired for € 12.5 million. Džeko was a free transfer from Roma.

During 2020-21, Inter underlined their ambitions to compete with Juventus, and unveiled their new visual identity as a modern, digital brand that aims to appeal to younger generations. It was mildly controversial and opinion is divided over the campaign and the logo.

Inter have also launched  a cluster of new partnerships that will enhance their sponsorship arrangements. Socios, the Blockchain-backed company, is the club’s new shirt sponsor, replacing long-time partner Pirelli. Lenovo, the Chinese computer firm, is the back-of-shirt sponsor and Zytara Labs is the name on the sleeves of the famous black and blue striped strip.

The future of the San Siro stadium remains unclear, although recent news suggests that Inter and AC Milan may be able to get their project off the ground in the next few months. The design entitled “The Cathedral”, submitted by Populous, is the favourite proposal, although “The Two Rings” by Manica/Sportium, is still in the running.

Inter remain unbeaten in Serie A, but their UEFA Champions League campaign has had a stuttering start. The Nerazzurri were beaten at the San Siro by Real Madrid and drew 0-0 away at Shakhtar Donetsk. At present, in a season that could be quite open in Italy, Inter have every chance of regaining their title.

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